Not all gifts are created equal, and with the saturated toy market providing an endless number of new options almost daily, it's easy to forget there is more to your child's life than having the biggest toy collection.
Here are 14 gift options to consider if you're tired of picking up pieces from the latest Lego set or action series.
1. Art supplies
Whether a child is a blossoming Da Vinci or just likes to have fun with a paintbrush and some bright colors, art supplies offer a world of activities that can help improve fine motor skills, creative thinking and the ability to complete a project from start to finish.
With more and more interest in online gaming and other social media activities, it's hard to get kids interested in books. But, that doesn't mean you shouldn't try.
Take a trip to a bookstore and let your child browse the stacks to see what interests them. Or, set up a wish list on your Amazon account and let them create their own list of desired titles.
3. Cooking lessons
One of the most important skills every person needs to know is how to feed themselves.
Cooking classes are a great way to give your child these lifelong skills. Knowing how to cook also gives your child a fun activity that they can later show off to the rest of the family.
4. Cardboard boxes
Cardboard boxes are some of the most versatile items your kids can get their hands on, and they're fun for kids at any age.
They're not something you would give as a birthday gift, but boxes are a great impromptu "just because" item. Your kids can decorate them, make bedroom furniture like a nightstand, turn them into make-believe rocket ships or use them as an art canvas.
Best of all, they're basically free.
5. Magazine subscription
There are a number of magazines just for kids, many of which encourage learning and creativity. Plus, receiving mail every month gives your child something to look forward to while providing a good dose of fun, education and encouragement to improve their reading skills.
6. "Piggy" bank
It's never too early to teach your kids how to save money.
Help your child learn saving skills by giving them a "bank account" of their own. It doesn't even need to be a pig!
A bank can be anything like a large souvenir cup from a theme park, a small cardboard box they can decorate themselves or an empty jar from the kitchen. You can even help them collect spare change around the house to get started.
7. Personal toolkit
DIY is here to stay, and even the least mechanically adept people probably have a basic set of tools.
Giving your child a starter kit with their own mini hammer, screwdrivers and a tape measure will get your budding handyman or woman ready to help around the house!
"How many days until....?"
Children like to know what's going on and when things will happen. Having their own place to count days, weeks and months will help them learn about the passage of time and how to plan.
9. A watch
Watches are a great way to help a child develop a sense of time. It can also give a child the opportunity to learn responsibility and independence by teaching them how to know how much time is left in an activity and how to be on time to things.
10. Theater tickets
We don't mean the movie kind!
There are a number of family oriented stage performances that local theaters include in their annual program schedule. Check your local theater schedule for performances that the entire family can attend.
Music can stir the heart, the soul and the mind. Whether they want to dance, celebrate or just rock to something while they clean their rooms, music could be a source of inspiration for your kids for years to come.
12. Musical instruments
Listening to music is a great way to increase intelligence in children. Making your own sounds, melodies and rhythms is just as important.
You don't have to go out and spend a bunch of money at a music store for your child. Instruments can come in all shapes and sizes, like bongo drums and maracas or a basic inexpensive flute. Gaining the ability to make music can help shape your child's mind and spirit.
13. A scrapbook
From preschool on, life gives you and your kids lots of little moments you want to keep as memorabilia. Scrapbooks are a great way to save these memories and tell the story of your child's life.
14. Mommy/daddy dates
Date nights aren't just for mom and dad.
Spending quality one-on-one time with your child tremendously benefits your relationship. Doing an activity together of the child's choosing will give both of you memories you'll look back on fondly for the rest of your lives.
If you have more than one child, these "dates" can help make sure each child receives individual attention from each parent no matter how busy your schedules become.
Next time you're searching for just the right gift for your child, consider one of these ideas to enhance your child's life experiences.